Thanks very much, Sharon for welcoming me on to your blog as part of the tour for my latest novel Alice in Theatreland. Unlike my Liberty Sands trilogy, this is a standalone novel, although I have had people who have read the ebook requesting a sequel – we’ll see.
The book is set in the long hot summer of 1976 and gives a glimpse of life behind the glitz and glamour of the red velvet curtains in a West End theatre. There is an element of romance running through the book, with Alice falling for her leading man after he shows her some attention, but the plot really centres around the highly dislikeable theatre impresario, Richard, and the lengths to which he will go to protect himself and his sordid secret. It is a dramatic baptism of fire for Alice where she is often unsure who to trust and with a sequence of events that will change her life forever.
The idea started with the title which flashed in to my head when I was on a five-day mini-break in Spain last September. I had gone away to start writing a different book which I had already plotted, but that was pushed to one side as my creative juices went into overdrive. The title is a play on Alice in Wonderland, and throughout the book I have made occasional references to the Lewis Carroll novel even visualising ‘my’ Alice with similar physical characteristics. She is a pretty, blonde-haired dancer from Nottingham, my home town, who arrives in London for an audition for her first West End show. To say she is naïve and inexperienced in the workings of London’s theatre world is an understatement but Alice has a burning desire to one day see her name up in lights and knows she may have to face a certain amount of rejection to reach her ultimate goal.
In the 1970’s there was no such thing as political correctness and discrimination, on the basis of height, weight and looks, regardless of ability, was common place. I was able to draw on my own experiences as a professional dancer attending open auditions in that era for one of the scenes early in the book where Alice is picked on for being curvier than the other girls.
Ultimately, Alice’s undoubted talent shines through and she accepts a job as part of the chorus-line of Theatreland, but it is a decision she may live to regret.
Alice's childhood dream of seeing her name up in lights seems close to fulfilment when she attends an audition for a new West End show but first she must impress theatre impresario, Richard, a man with an unhealthy penchant for innocent young dancers.
Befriended by Gina, an experienced dancer who is determined to protect her new friend from the sleaze behind the glamour, and attracting attention from the male lead in the show, Peter, a former pop star who she's had a crush on for years, Alice's star seems to be ascending until she accepts Richard's impromptu dinner invitation.
Alice’s apparent naivety places her in peril, but is she really as innocent as she appears or is she playing a dangerous game? And just how far will Richard go to protect his guilty secret?
Julia has very generously offered a copy of Alice in Theatreland to give away to a follower of the blog, enter via the Rafflecopter form below. The winner will be selected at random when the giveaway ends and contacted for their address for me to pass onto Julia to post the book to you.
a Rafflecopter giveaway